By David Odongo
A catholic priest in Nyanza shocked churchgoers on a Sunday when he rejected their offering, describing it as peanuts. The slow boring service had been going on smoothly until it was time for offertory.
As the church member lined up and the choir sang ‘toweni sadaka’ song, all that could be heard was the clink of coins at each member dropped his offertory into the box that’s in front of the altar. After the offertory, the priest then rose to go bless the ‘sadaka’ but shocked everybody by trying to open the box.
Realising it was locked, the called the catechist to bring him the key. The box was promptly opened and a look of disgust clouded the priests face.
“Hizi shilingi mnatoa mnadhani inaeza saidia na nini?” he angrily question the faithful.
What he did next shocked everybody. He took the box of offering, and headed to where the children were seated. “My children, here are coins, go buy sweets. Your parents are a bunch of jokers,” he said while distributing the coins to the children.
The priest then went back to the alter, placed the offertory box on a stool and ordered the choir to start singing a new ‘toweni sadaka ‘ song.
“All the orphans you don’t want to feed in this community live, eat, and go to school. And it’s the parish footing the bill. They live in my house. All the children you men father, and you women abandon when you go to Nairobi live with me.” Said the priest, foaming in the mouth.
“All your aged parents whom you abandon live with me. And yet you don’t want to contribute. Sadaka is the only way I can take care of responsibilities you people as a community shun. Toeni sadaka, and I want notes, not coins” fumed the priest.
He then stood near the box, and ordered everybody, from the last bench to the front to queue up and give offering to the Lord. The community, which mostly consists of businessmen, teachers and a host of civil servants quickly heeded the priests orders.
At the end of the service, the priests happily announced to the shamed audience. “I am glad we have raised eight thousand shillings today. The first offering only raised four hundred shillings. At least, the orphans who live with me with today have beef for dinner” he happily announced to the congregation.
After the service, most church members felt they deserved the harsh criticism from the man of God, and many vowed never to take offering for granted. “Just because Catholics don’t focus of gospel of prosperity doesn’t mean I don’t need money. When you call me for a funeral, I can’t walk ten kilometres to come bury your dead ones. I need fare. When a stranger walks into the community, they seek shelter at the parish and they have to eat.” said the priest.